Beer: the $16.5 billion spice in Australia's economic life
30 May 2019
THE latest data on Australian beer's contribution to the national economy, as well as its state-by-state footprint, shows that from grain to glass Aussie beer is a huge supplier of local jobs, a major economic driver and a serious revenue raiser for government.
The economic analysis by ACIL Allen Consulting for the Brewers Association of Australia shows that 84% of all beer sold in Australia is made by Australians, that domestic production supports almost 103,000 full-time Australian jobs and generates $16.5 billion-a-year in economic activity.
"Raising a glass is a part of who we are. Beer is a major ingredient in what brings families, friends, colleagues and entire communities together. But it is also an important lubricant for our economy at national, state and local levels," Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan explained.
"While the data for 2017-18 has tracked down slightly since 2015-16, mainly due to an increase in imports (up from 14% to 16.2%), beer in Australia is predominantly a domestic industry, with the three major local brewers (CUB, Lion and Coopers) accounting for 79.4% of sales volume.
"Interestingly, despite the year-on-year exponential growth in the number of small brewers, they account for 3.4% of sales volume, with homebrew at 2.1% and imports at 16.2%. Exports run to 1.5% of domestic production volume.
"Locally brewed beer, independent of its flow-on effects through the broader economy, supports 12,564 full-time Australian jobs in its direct supply chain and generates almost $6 billion in economic activity.
"When you add in the jobs and economic inputs beer drives across agriculture (primarily malting barley and hops); the broader supply chain, including manufacturing, packaging and transport sectors; through to pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and retailers; beer production in Australia generates a massive 102,816 full-time equivalent jobs and $16.5 billion a year to the economy.
"For every direct full-time equivalent job making beer in an Australian brewery (3,700), a further 26.8 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy.
"Every Australian schooner of beer sold in pubs and other licensed premises contributes $6.46 to GDP, while its off-license equivalent in packaged liquor store sales contributes $2.72 to GDP.
"The 2017-18 data on beer taxes is telling. Australian beer drinkers poured $3.613 billion into government coffers – that's just over $2 billion in excise and $1.6 billion in GST. Australian Government tax is the single biggest cost in the price of a beer.
"In fact, based on a typical carton of 4.9% alcohol by volume beer retailing at $51.00, a whopping $21.35 – or 42% – is tax.
"Demand for light and mid-strength beers has remained constant at 26.5% of sales volume, however, the trend to lower strength beers has seen full-strength beers sold in Australia average 4.4% alcohol by volume, down from the once typical 5%.
"The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that Aussies are drinking less alcohol today than at any point in the last 55 years, with 84% of us drinking within recommended guidelines. That's very positive cultural change.
"Over 9.1 million Aussies celebrate life's milestones or just the end of a working week with a beer. Pleasingly, they are doing so more responsibly than ever."
The full ACIL Allen Consulting report, Economic Contribution of the Australian Brewing Industry 2017-18 from Producers to Consumers, is available upon request. More facts and figures on Australian beer are available at: Beer Facts
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